You meet your friend for coffee today. As you sit down to chat, they begin the conversation with a new diet they went on where they claim to have lost 10 lbs in 2 weeks. This diet almost seems too good to be true. You stop and think, “Should I try out this new diet as well?”.
Your friend seems overly pleased about their achievement, but what emotional stress did they go through to obtain this weight loss? How else could they have used their time besides worrying about food rules? Is this weight loss permanent, or short-term?
It is likely that your friend may have been influenced by the media. Social pressures make individuals feel like happiness can be obtained by having a certain body image or eating a certain type of diet. This type of mentality creates a whirlwind of body-negativity, resulting in an obsession of losing weight.
Rather than worrying about weight control, consider taking another approach towards eating. I challenge you to let go of dieting and become an intuitive eater. Intuitive eating rejects the diet mentality and focuses on creating a healthy relationship with food, as well as the mind, body, and soul1. Intuitive eating goes beyond diet, as it focuses on eating foods based on hunger and satiety cues. This method of eating helps to distinguish the difference between physical hunger, and emotional hunger2,3. Eating due to actual hunger, is known as physical hunger. Eating due to stress, habit, or sadness, is known as emotional hunger3.
Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch wrote a book on intuitive eating and created 10 incredible principles relating to intuitive eating. Here is a quick summary of each:
- Reject the diet mentality: The first principle involves dismissing fad diets, as the majority are not sustainable methods to losing weight1.
- Honour your hunger: Listen to your hunger cues, and only eat when you are hungry1.
- Make peace with food: Allow yourself the permission to eat unconditionally. Restricting yourself from particular foods may lead to feelings of deprivations, which may make us more likely to overeat1.
- Challenge the food police: Eliminate feelings of guilt with certain foods, don’t feel bad for treating yourself at times1.
- Respect your fullness: Listen to your satiety cues. Being able to distinguish physical and emotional hunger may help to discontinue eating when full1.
- Discover the satisfaction factor: Take the time and indulge in the current moment, enjoy the experience of eating1.
- Honour your feelings without using food: Discover other methods to deal with stress without the use of food1.
- Respect your body: Accept the genetic blueprint that is yourself. Love your body for what it is, no matter the size1.
- Energize yourself- Feel the difference: Enjoy doing what makes you feel good when moving around1.
- Honour your health with gentle nutrition: Make food choices that make you feel happy. Your diet does not necessarily need to be perfect to be healthy1.
Using these 10 principles of intuitive eating, you can become attuned with your body in knowing what it needs to be fuelled and energized.
- Tribole, E, Resch E. Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin; 2012. 368 p.
- Denny, KN, Loth K, Eisenberg ME, Neumark-Sztainer D. Intuitive eating in young adults: Who is doing it, and how is it related to disordered eating behaviors? Appetite. 2013; 60(1): 13–19. doi: 1016/j.appet.2012.09.029
- Tan CC, Chow CM. Stress and emotional eating: The mediating role of eating dysregulation. Personality and Individual Differences. 2014; 66(2014): 1-4. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.02.033.